Early Look at Washington’s Football Schedule

Zaydrius Rainey-Sale Washington

Washington’s football schedule opens with three manageable non-conference games. The team begins the year against Weber State at home. The FCS program out of the Big Sky conference finished 6-5 last season. The Huskies’ week two matchup is another home game against Eastern Michigan out of the MAC. The Eagles finished with six wins last season. Both games will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Non-Conference to Start the Year

These two non-conference games provide a runway for the new early-season slot of the annual Apple Cup. Washington and Washington State will play as non-conference rivals for the first time since 1961. Then, what we formerly knew to be the Pac-12 consisted of just five teams and was known as the Athletic Association of Western Universities and it didn’t contain Washington State. It was called the Big Five for short until Washington State joined the following year. This fall, the non-conference Apple Cup is being held inside Lumen Field in Seattle on September 14th. The game had traditionally been played on the week of Thanksgiving. However, this year’s game will be the first time the two teams have ever met in the month of September.

Washington’s Big Ten Football Schedule

Washington’s first Big Ten Conference game will be played inside Husky Stadium against Northwestern. The Wildcats will be directed under second-year head coach David Braun who surprised the nation last season by winning seven regular season games. Northwestern capped off its year with a Las Vegas Bowl victory against Utah. These programs last met in 1984 in Seattle. Washington is 3-0 all-time against the Wildcats.

A Trip Back “Home”

Washington head coach Jedd Fisch will play his first Big Ten Conference road game in a place familiar to him. Fisch grew up in Livingston, New Jersey. The town is about 30 miles from SHI Stadium, home of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. There, Washington will play in the new Friday night primetime window on FOX on September 20th. With the expanded league, FOX is creating a new time slot on Fridays to highlight more of the conference’s storied programs. This game in Piscataway is not only a national spotlight for the Huskies, but an opportunity to highlight Fisch’s roots on the national stage. Washington last played Rutgers in a home-and-home series in 2016 and 2017, winning both.

National Championship Rematch

To begin the month of October, Washington will host Michigan in a rematch of January’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game. This game is the first road test for Michigan, which opens with five straight home games. Both programs will feature several new faces from the coaching staff to the playing field. Sherrone Moore is now the head coach of the Wolverines, and the team will be breaking in a new quarterback. On Washington’s side, Fisch brought much of his staff with him to Montlake when he left Arizona. And of last year’s starting 22 on offense and defense, just two returning starters remain on the 2024 Washington squad: Elijah Jackson and Alphonzo Tuputala.

Tough Road Test at Iowa

The following week, Washington’s football schedule features the team’s most challenging road environment of the young 2024 season. It’s a trip to Iowa City to play Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium. Iowa announced this would be the team’s annual ANF Black and Gold Spirit Game, meaning the crowd will be striped in black and gold from section to section. Though the game time has not yet been announced, this Spirit Game is traditionally held in the late afternoon or evening in Iowa City. The crowd inside Kinnick Stadium is one of the loudest in the Big Ten, and this game is one of the most anticipated on the team’s home slate. Both programs will enter this game after tough matchups the week prior. Washington with Michigan and Iowa will be coming off a difficult road game at Ohio State. Iowa won the last meeting between the two in the 1995 Sun Bowl and Washington is 2-0 against Iowa in the Rose Bowl. The teams each have three wins against each other.

Indiana After A Bye Week

After the team’s first bye week on its football schedule, Washington will head back to the Midwest to play Indiana. The bye week will come at a good time for Washington. It’s seven games into the season and is placed after a couple of tough conference opponents. Indiana is another team with a first-year head coach in Curt Cignetti from James Madison. Washington and Indiana haven’t met since 2003 when Washington beat the Hoosiers in Seattle.

Back Home for USC

Washington will have to wait a full month before returning to the Greatest Setting in College Football. The Huskies host USC on the first weekend of November, 28 days after getting Michigan at home. It’s a long hiatus from the home crowd, and the team’s return will be met with a familiar foe in Lincoln Riley’s Trojans. This early November game will be homecoming for Washington. USC will have just played Rutgers at home the week prior and will be looking ahead to its second bye week of the season after the trip to Washington.

Penn State Road Trip

Washington heads back East for the second time of the season on November 9th. Penn State has not yet announced when they’ll host their annual Whiteout, but the matchup with Washington is among the options. Mid-November means the weather will be starting to turn, and the natural grass playing surface of Beaver Stadium will likely be Washington’s toughest road environment on its football schedule. One thing trending in the direction of Washington for this game is that Penn State could be in a hangover-type slot for this matchup. The Nittany Lions host Ohio State the week before Washington. An emotional rivalry against the Big Ten favorite could give the Huskies an opportunity to jump on the Lions a week later.

UCLA For Senior Day

The remainder of Washington’s schedule features traditional, former Pac-12 opponents, beginning with UCLA. The Bruins will travel to Washington for the Huskies’ Senior Day festivities on a Friday night, November 15th. For first-year head coach DeShaun Foster, this game is the first road trip for UCLA in the Pacific Time zone. UCLA travels over 11,000 miles this fall with road games including Hawaii, Rutgers, LSU, and Penn State. By the time their 900-mile trip north to Seattle comes around, the Bruins might be worn thin. This poses another chance for Washington to be opportunistic with its football schedule. But the Huskies will be on short rest following their trip to State College. 

Washington at Oregon

The Saturday after Thanksgiving no longer features the Apple Cup. Instead, Washington and Oregon will compete in one of the nation’s most heated rivalries. It might not get the attention of the Iron Bowl or The Game, but Washington and Oregon is a fierce, Pacific Northwest rivalry that will now cap off the season. This time, both teams will be coming in with a week of rest. The Huskies and the Ducks have bye weeks on November 23rd. Oregon is one of the favorites to win the new Big Ten this fall. But in a rivalry this big with adequate rest beforehand, the final regular season game of the year could shape up to be another classic.


Washington Football Schedule

Main image courtesy: Nick Lemkau



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